Biotech and Pharmaceuticals Medicine

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  • When I do an interview with a clinical trial investigator I typically try to take care of what I call the "housekeeping" at the beginning or end.

  • Live TV is best when things are happening and news is breaking right now. It's immediate and often, hopefully, more compelling.

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    The most important new antidiscrimination law in two decades — the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act — will take effect in the nation’s workplaces next weekend, prohibiting employers from requesting genetic testing or considering someone’s genetic background in hiring, firing or promotions. The New York Times explaines the ramifications.

  • Merck

    For top analysts from investment banks, including JPMorgan  and Credit Suisse , or some of their minions, the destination is a cardiology conference where on Monday morning medical researchers are expected to present a study with potentially significant implications for multibillion-dollar cholesterol medications from the drug giant Merck.

  • It doesn't always happen, but there is a common to-and-fro, push-and-pull, back-and-forth or whatever you want to call it between reporters and corporate PR folks. I don't particularly like that part of my job, but sometimes it just comes with the territory. I've got my job to do and they've got theirs. I get it.

  • Boone Pickens

    Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens has made headlines with his clean energy plan for America. But what you haven't heard is the 81-year-old's plan to stay mentally and physically fit.  Neuroscientists who have studied his brain say it appears to function like someone half his age. 

  • Twitter

    Today starts a two-day FDA public hearing in Washington, DC on biopharma and social media. I decided not to go because talking heads in a meeting room just don't make for good TV. And this is just the first step in what is no doubt going to be a very long, involved policy-making process. But as it turns out, it looks like it might have been futile for me to try to attend anyway.

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    Health care reform has always had two main goals. The first — insuring the uninsured — carries grand overtones of social justice. The second — making the health care system more efficient — can seem abstract, technocratic and a bit nerdy. The New York Times looks at what's missing.

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    When I went to the FDA's Web site today I was surprised to see on the homepage a link to a letter written by Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg. It's addressed to "Dear Healthcare Professional" aka a "Dear Doctor letter." That's a common type of communication from the agency and/or companies to the medical community, usually when they've got bad news to pass along about a drug or device. It's pretty rare for the commish to write one.

  • Doctor Writing

    As health care legislation moves to the Senate, there is a growing criticism that the measure doesn't fulfill President Obama’s promise to slow runaway health care costs, the New York Times reports.

  • Health Care Reform

    Many analysts, lobbyists and industry executives have been saying for months that healthcare reform would probably end up being a net positive for the drug companies.

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    Stacy and Clinton definitely had nothing to do with it, but Sanofi-Pasteur (the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis) greets visitors with a "What Not To Wear" brochure.

  • Swine Flu Needle

    New York City health officials scrambled to explain themselves Thursday following outraged media reports about bankers who got scarce H1N1 flu vaccines through their employers

  • Medtronic Maximo DR implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

    When makers of heart defibrillators wanted Medicare to vastly expand the types of patients eligible to receive the devices, which can cost upward of $25,000, agency officials were skeptical. It was not clear how many of those patients would actually need a defibrillator, a device that can deliver a life-saving shock to restore a faltering heart to normal rhythm.

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    I am not a Trekkie. In fact, sci-fi and fantasy are two of of my least favorite genres. But the Vulcan salutation was one of the first things I thought of when I went to the facelifted Merck Web site this morning to link to and print the press release about the new Merck.

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    Pfizer, or one of its ad agencies, is apparently putting out a casting call for a new Lipitor pitchman.

  • Over the past few days there's been a remarkable confluence of newsflow, most of it positive, out of biopharma. First the bad news.

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    I end the week as I started it: blogging about Vivus and the three-contestant race to make a new prescription diet pill.

  • On a day when the market is in full-tilt rally mode on the GDP number, shares of Dow component Merck and the company it's buying, Schering-Plough, are sliding. So, what gives?

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    GlaxoSmithKline is one of the handful of drug companies on the front lines of the fight against the flu. In fact, it is the only company that has products on both sides. GSK makes a vaccine and an antiviral. In the third quarter, GSK today reported that it sold nearly $300 million worth of the inhalable flu-fighter Relenza. That’s a more than 10-fold increase from a year ago. And CEO Andrew Witty reportedly forecast around $1.6 billion worth of flu shot sales in the fourth quarter.